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In First, Contestant With Special Needs On ‘Wheel Of Fortune’


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There have been many recent tales of “Wheel of Fortune” woe, including the unfortunate “Boozing my shore excursion” lady. And the weirdness of the lucky guess “New baby buggy” guy. But Wednesday, the show had its first inspirational contestant in quite awhile with Trent Girone.

The 21-year-old Peoria, Ariz., resident is a self-described “Wheel of Fortune” fanatic, but more important, he’s the first contestant with special needs ever to compete on the show.

Girone has had nine brain surgeries and has both Asperger’s and Tourette syndromes, but that didn’t stop him from taking early control of the wheel by successfully guessing the first puzzle, “a smashing success.”

Girone ultimately didn’t win the game — he hit the dreaded Bankrupt slot — but he won viewer hearts. He became a Twitter trend with #TeamTrent that made his appearance into a viral sensation.

During his appearance, Girone, who says he’s been a “Wheel” fan since age 2, even avoided being stumped by host Pat Sajak when Sajak asked him to name a category that was no longer featured on the show. (Girone’s correct answer: Megaword.)

In a blog post Girone wrote for the “Wheel of Fortune” website, he wrote, “I love the show and wanted to be part of its history. I thought I would do a great job at solving puzzles.” He certainly studied up, even claiming to watch Saturday morning reruns of last season’s episodes. His episode was actually taped back in February.

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. Bill Hetzler says:

    I viewed this show while sitting at a bar in a hotel in North Platte, Nebraska. Every comment made at the bar that night about Trent being on the show was positive. It was heartwarming to see him and to see the positive reaction from everyone. We are making progress.

  2. Ruthee Goldkorn says:

    Several years ago, twice in fact, there were contestants with disAbility. Both were deaf and used ASL interpreters.

  3. Cathie Knoll says:

    That was Awesome! I am just sorry he didn’t win.

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